Mental Pivot

David Papandrew
Expand your perspective and challenge your thinking. If you’re interested in thinking tools for improving your mind, reading for the joy of learning, and being exposed to new ideas (and spending time to reflect on old ones), this is the place for you.
Created 04 Sep 2020
  • Mental Pivot #55: Constant Curiosity
    19 Nov 2021 • 6 min read
    “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” —Albert Einstein in a letter to Carl Seelig (his biographer), March 11, 1952. Following Albert Einstein’s death on April 18, 1955, Life mag...
  • Mental Pivot #54: Calibrating Confidence
    12 Nov 2021 • 6 min read • 1 0
    If you’d like to improve the quality of your decision-making, Annie Duke’s 2018 book, “Thinking in Bets,” isn’t a bad place to find inspiration. Duke, a former professional poker player, knows a thing...
  • Mental Pivot #53: A Learning Journal
    05 Nov 2021 • 6 min read
    Ever get to the end of a week and wonder what the heck happened? This happens all too often in my life. I don’t like that feeling at all. In the past, I’ve countered this by keeping a journal. Unfortu...
  • Mental Pivot #52: Representations and Reality
    29 Oct 2021 • 4 min read • 2 0
    …the map appears to us more real than the land. Short sighted almost to blindness, we pore over the chart, map out journeys and confirm them: and we cannot see life itself giving us the lie the whole ...
  • Mental Pivot #51: Knowledge Gaps
    22 Oct 2021 • 5 min read
    When I first stepped foot in the Fanny Peabody Mason Music Building to start my Ph.D. program in the Fall of 1994, I was struck by one pronounced and humbling fact: I was an especially clueless dude a...
  • Mental Pivot #50: Personal Narrative Podcasts
    15 Oct 2021 • 5 min read • 1 0
    A good story can be many things, but at the top of my list a good story is surprising, insightful, entertaining, and emotionally satisfying. While I enjoy the big, iconic stories about historical figu...
  • Mental Pivot #49: Is It Enough?
    08 Oct 2021 • 3 min read • 1 0
    Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants. — Epictetus There’s a wonderful poem by Kurt Vonnegut that touches on the interrelated questions of personal satisfaction and ...
  • Mental Pivot #48: Shifts in Perspective
    01 Oct 2021 • 4 min read
    I recently picked up a copy of Oliver Burkeman’s book, “Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals.” In the introduction, the author reminds the reader that life is absurdly short. Per the title...
  • Mental Pivot #47: Pithy Wisdom
    24 Sep 2021 • 5 min read
    The ability to something profound in as few words as possible is a skill I lack but envy in others. The Danish polymath, Piet Hein (1905-1996), was particularly adept at this; he was a master of brevi...
  • Mental Pivot #46: Reframing Practice
    17 Sep 2021 • 4 min read
    Sometimes a small shift in perspective is all you need to unlock a meaningful change. I was recently reminded of such a shift while practicing a piece on the piano, JS Bach’s Invention No.13 in A mino...
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